Primary Years Programme Information

The Benefits of an IB Education - Research Results
The IB has recently completed research into how the PYP develops and improves school climate and student well being.

Transdisciplinary Themes
The Essential Element of Knowledge is one of the five fundamental curriculum areas. This is of course the actual content of the programme, what is it that we are looking to teach in our school through the units of inquiry? What is it that we want students to know about? The knowledge aspect of the curriculum here at DSKI is delivered through our transdisciplinary units of inquiry.

Our Kindergarten classes have 4 units then moving into 6 units of inquiry for our grade level classes. The units bring in the traditional subject areas of mathematics, languages, science, social studies, the arts and personal, social and physical education together in a transdisciplinary environment ­ showing the students the interrelatedness of the subject areas.

“The PYP aims to create a curriculum that is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant for learners in the 3–12 age range. The curriculum is transdisciplinary, meaning that it focuses on issues that go across subject areas.” ​IB Website 2015 

Our units are arranged under transdisciplinary themes, which are the same for every year group, although they may be taught in a different order through the school year. 

● Who We Are 
● Where We Are in Time & Place 
● How We Express Ourselves 
● How the World Works 
● How We Organize Ourselves 
● How We Share the Planet 

We will have a look in a later post in more detail as to what each transdisciplinary theme represents. 

Transdisciplinary Units of Inquiry 
You will by now all be familiar with the fact that in our classrooms we don’t follow a set curriculum in the different subject areas which are all taught independently from each other. This is the typical style in various countries national curriculums. You will study maths in maths time, history in humanities time and so on etc.

What we aim to do in the Primary Years Programme is to build a transdisciplinary programme. That is to have all the subjects as far as possible linked into the unit of inquiry which is going on at that time. So the subjects are linked into the unit and the unit is crossing over the different subject areas. The students are then able to see how the different subjects are related to each other and also how they can apply them to the world outside the classroom.

But what happens if say the maths to be taught at that time doesn't link to the unit ­ do you still teach it? Yes, of course, it will be taught then as a stand alone lessons as we recognize that authentic connections cannot be made all of the time. But it is our aim. 

IB Learner Profile
Around the school and in all the classrooms you will see a set of words describing personality attributes. They are the same words in all the classrooms and together they represent what is called the IB learner profile.

This represents the profile of an International Baccalaureate graduating student. It is a common set of values, developed in all three IB programmes (Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, Diploma Programme), that transcend international boundaries and help develop internationally minded people.

“The IB learner profile represents 10 attributes valued by IB World Schools. We believe these attributes, and others like them, can help individuals and groups become responsible members of local, national and global communities.” ​International Baccalaureate 2015.

The attributes that make up the learner profile are -
Open­ Minded

We don't have lessons that are specifically designed to teach the learner profile, rather exploiting learning opportunities built into the units of inquiry where it makes sense to do so, avoiding artificial or forced connections. It may even be as simple as using or modelling the attributes around the school. An easy example would be commending a child for being caring when looking after a new student, or for a quiet child being a risk­taker when speaking during a school assembly.

It isn’t the responsibility of just the students, we ask that ​all​ members of the school community model the you?

Parent Conferences
As part of our programme we have three main types of conference, all designed to give you an opportunity to see how your child is developing through the units of inquiry and accross the attributes of the IB learner profile.

Teacher-Parent Conferences
Held in October and is designed to give parents information about how their child has settled in the new class he or she is in. It is an opportunity to address any questions or concerns the teachers and or parents may have.

Three Way Conferences
Held after reports in February and involve the student, parents and teacher. The student discusses their learning and progress. The student, parents and teacher collaborate to identify the student’s strengths and areas for improvement. This leads to the setting of new goals and the three parties determine their responsibilities in supporting the student to achieve these goals.

Student-Led Conferences
Held in June and involve the student and their parents. The student is responsible for leading the conference. The student guides the parents through their classroom and the set of activities previously organised by the students and teachers. The conference will involve the student discussing work selected for their portfolio. Parents listen and interact with their child as they read, demonstrate experiments, use the computer, play maths games together, complete learning experiences together, and discuss their portfolio.

Connecting with Other IB Schools
Grade 3 and 4 had a video call with Grade 3 students and teachers at BINUS School Simprug, an IB School in Jakarta, Indonesia. 

Both classes prepared slideshow presentations on our City and School as well as on children’s Rights and Responsibilities as students in both schools have been inquiring into rights and responsibilities as part of their units of inquiry. 

There was some overlap between both presentations, but both sides specifically addressed rights of students with our own culture in mind. 

It was a great cultural exchange and the students were able to share what they have learned over the first 6 weeks of the year. 

Curriculum, Assessment and Tracker Days
Behind the Programme of Inquiry, we do have a fully articulated curriculum. Here at DSKI we use the British Colombia curriculum from Canada, as it is a very good fit with IB schools due to the way it is set out. A lot of PYP schools use it because of this. We have also compared our curriculum with the German, US and Japanese curriculum for maths and language to make sure that our programme is at the right level in this international world.

We assess our students progress through the year to make sure they are at the right level in June when they graduate their grade and move up to the next class. We have three assessment weeks in the year - October, January and April. The teachers will assess students levels based on class work and observations but all students will also do a maths test and write a sample piece of work so we can look in detail at their academic levels in English and German with German native speakers. 

Tracker Days
After each assesment week, the principal meets with all homeroom teachers to look at the students in their class and we ask the question, is each child on track to be at the correct academic level at the end of the school year? 

For any students where the answer is no... we work together to see why are they under acheiving and what we can do to support them to bring their level up. But also, for any student where the answer is yes but they are excelling... we want to make sure we are challenging them, to make sure they are achieving their full potential. 

These meetings take place during the Tracker Days, as we track the students through the year, and also from one year to the next so we have a very clear understanding of all of our students and how they are doing. This information will be included in your childs report card at the end of each semester.

Our New Programme of Inquiry
We are happy to publish our new programe of inquiry for 2020-2021. Our studnets will have units running though the year that we are sure will stimulate them to inquire, ask questions and become critical thinkers.

Your homeroom teachers will introduce the units for your grade level, but the units are not taught by yoru homeroom teacher alone. All our specialist teachers make connections to the units to provide a truely transdiciplinary programme, making connections between the subjects, concepts, approaches to learning and the IB learner profile.

Students living and studying abroad have a very special and often unique opportunity. To be able to interact and form friendships with children from different cultures and backgrounds, sometimes very different from their own and to be able to understand what values are important to them.

As the International Baccalaureate puts it in their mission statement that, “other people, with their differences, can also be right.” The students have a wonderful opportunity to look and at see the world from a perspective from outside of their home country boundaries.

One of the most important beliefs and values of the Primary Years Programme is that of international mindedness. The IB is after all an organization that develops programmes for an international education for students in an international context. It is very hard to actually define what international mindedness actually is, but here at DSKI we hope to be able to instill a set of values and understanding that develop internationalism and international mindedness.

Though the skills and the attitudes that are developed in our units of inquiry and through the attributes of the IB learner profile which you will see around the school. And of course developing those friendships and relationships with students from all around the world. 

Welcome to the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme.
A warm welcome to all our new parents who have joined our school this year! Our primary school uses the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP).

This is a very widely recognized educational programme used around the world in many international schools. It is the first of three programmes from the IB, the others being the Middle Years Programme and then for the final two years of school the Diploma Programme which has world­wide recognition by universities as a high quality qualification for entry into degree programmes.

The PYP is an inquiry based programme, if your family background is from a state school then this will differ somewhat. We put much more emphasis on your child thinking, investigating, questioning and developing as a whole person. We aim to give them a much more international outlook and bringing into the classroom their prior knowledge and experiences, building on this in their units of inquiry. On this blog page you will be able to read in more detail about the aspects and components of the Primary Years Programme to gain more of an understanding of DSKI and the PYP.